Why is Outlook 2010 Still So Stupid?

It’s somewhat laughable that in 2010, Outlook still lacks the basic software intelligence to help make the lives of its users easier. If there are known elements (day of the week, day of the month, a time, and a time zone) it shouldn’t be difficult to create a function in the software that would automatically parse and order that data into an appointment – all that would be missing is a description and location (though the latter could be part of the data points). Despite everyone embracing the cloud, I still stand by Outlook as my pain productivity weapon for email, calender, tasks, contacts, etc. It works extremely well for me – far better than any cloud-based solution I’ve tried.

I should add that I’ve seen some Outlook add-ins that do some things like this – specifically with contacts – but I don’t like loading up Outlook with add-ins. The core functionality of Outlook needs to improve.

  • The only reason I’ve mostly abandoned Outlook for personal reasons is it’s limitation to a single computer. I still use it for work (no choice). For personal, I use gmail, Google Contacts, and Google Calendar. I miss some of the functionality of Outlook, but it’s a small trade-off to not have to be on a single computer with an Internet connection all the time.

    What do you think of Office 2010? I downloaded the 60 day trial, but couldn’t find any particular selling point that made it worth spending the money. I’m fairly content with Office 2007, and 2010 didn’t offer me enough to blow the money on an upgrade at this point. All they seemed to do was add the Ribbon to a few more applications and change the background color.

    One feature that was determined to drag me back to Outlook is the Outlook Social Connector. I really appreciated that. During a brief stint over the summer as a Realtor, I found it valuable for verifying contact information. I’d get home from an open house and begin entering data from my sign in sheets into Outlook Contacts, and if I got a Facebook profile in the Social Connector, I knew the email address was valid. It was a very valuable feature. I also made a few connections on LinkedIn because of it.

  • Outlook is only limited to a single computer if you’re using POP/IMAP; if you’re using a Web-based system (hosted Exchange, Live email, etc.) then you can access that data on as many computers as you want. With hosted Exchange accounts costing under $10/month, it’s a solution that most people don’t realize is utterly fantastic. My combining hosted Exchange, IMAP accounts, and Live Mesh, I have all my email/calendar/contacts/files/photos/etc. on all my computers. It’s awesome!

    As far as Office 2010 goes, in my opinion the only significant thing about it is Outlook 2010 – it’s a big upgrade over Outlook 2007, which got left out of a big upgrade in Office 2007. Other than Outlook, I don’t think there was a lot of upgrades in Office 2010.

    The Outlook social connector is *killer* – it’s a really impressive piece of technology!